7 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat as Well as You Do

Note from Matt: I’m at the Woodstock Fruit Festival, eating nothing but raw fruit and vegetables for a week and doing all sorts of fun stuff, from high ropes and lake swimming to listening to talks by Mike Arnstein, Tim Van Orden, and Dr. Doug Graham (I’m actually listening to him give a food prep demo right this minute).

It’s been a great experience, not just for me and my wife but for our kids, who at ages 4 and 1 are getting the chance to try all kinds of exotic fruits like lychee, durian, longans, and dragon fruit.

In that spirit, I invited my friend Sid Garza-Hillman to write a guest post about raising healthy kids. Why Sid? Because of this (those are his twins).

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Meal Planning Tips for the Busy Athlete, with YumUniverse’s Heather Crosby

Heather Crosby, creator of YumUniverse and author of the upcoming book by the same name, knows a thing or two about creating a healthy lifestyle.

At first glance, YumUniverse is beautiful and artsy and obviously focused on healthy, plant-based, gluten-free, whole food. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that Heather has the same fascination with habit-change that I do, and she incorporates those critical concepts into her recommendations for meal planning or getting started with a plant-based diet.

Heather was our guest expert in the No Meat Athlete Academy last month, and today I’ve got a 20-minute clip from our seminar to share with you. It’s packed with Heather’s brilliant tips for simplifying your entire process around food — from planning to shopping to getting it on the table — without ever sacrificing health for convenience (down to the soaking of the nuts and seeds and cooking beans from scratch).

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The Surprising Results of My Tart Cherry Juice Challenge

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with tart cherries as a workout recovery aid, as part of 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge and series of posts sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. Well, the results are in.

When I wrote “surprising” in the title, I meant it. But not for the reason you might expect (which, come to think of it, is what surprise means).

In case you missed the introductory post, here’s how my experiment set up:

  1. Run every day for a week, including several hard running workouts.
  2. Drink one tablespoon of tart cherry concentrate twice a day — once in the morning and once immediately post-run. (This is half the amount I wrote in the first post, where a reader pointed out my mistake and I corrected it before I began the challenge.)

It’s important to note that this running was supposed to represent a challenging week. While I’ve been running a fair amount this summer, my typical week prior to this experiment has been pretty relaxed … about four runs, 30 to 40 minutes each, and all at easy pace.

The point of my experiment, of course, was to put myself through a training week that would normally create a lot of soreness and fatigue. In this way, I’d be able to tell whether or not the tart cherries lived up to claim that they aid in recovery.

Everything went to plan, with one exception: I traded a planned long run on the last day for a second interval workout. This had nothing to do with how my body felt, and everything to do with a renewed interest in speedwork (and a renewed boredom with slow runs) that my return to interval training brought on.

So did the cherries help?

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How to Fuel Your Workouts, Naturally — with Elite Ultrarunner and Fruitarian Michael Arnstein

One hundred miles. In under 13 hours. That’s seven minutes and 46 seconds per mile, for 100 of them.

My mind is blown every time I think about that. What makes it all the more incredible — or, in Mike Arnstein’s eyes, what made it possible — is that he reached this elite level of ultrarunning with a simple diet of raw fruits and vegetables.

You may know Mike as the Fruitarian. In addition to his spectacular 12:57.45 100-mile time (the 7th fastest in history by an American), his impressive resume includes wins at the Vermont 100 and the Javelina Jundred, a 135-mile Badwater finish and 153-mile Spartathlon finish, and a pair of 2:28 marathons at Boston and NYC.

Today I’m excited to share another interview clip, this one part of a new No Meat Athlete Academy seminar titled “Natural Workout Nutrition” where Mike shares his strategies for fueling before, during, and after his demanding workouts and races with so clean a plant-based diet.

In the clip, you’ll hear about his unorthodox post-race recovery food and an interesting technique for helping to regulate your electrolyte intake during races:

(If you’re reading by email or in an RSS reader, use this link to watch the video.)

The Academy opens on Wednesday, when the full, hour-long interview with Mike will be live and downloadable for members, complete with notes and a next actions worksheet. If you’d like me to send you an email update as soon as it is, sign up here.

In the meantime, check out Mike’s ultrarunning talk from the Woodstock Fruit Festival — his non-profit raw food event in the Adirondacks, which this year is a two-week long festival in August. I’ll be there for first week with my wife and kids, and I’ll also be giving a talk or two and leading a run! I’ve heard it’s a blast and we’re really looking forward to it.

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Kill Your Microwave — How and Why I Got Rid of Mine

iStock 000003055108 SmallAdmission: I really wanted to call this post Kill Your Microwave … Before It Kills You!

But I didn’t. Because that’s not why I killed my microwave. I don’t think microwaves are dangerous, nor do really believe that microwaving your food necessarily destroys the nutrition therein.

Living without a microwave is weird, yes. Inconvenient, sure. But somehow, I love it.

Think microwave-freedom might be for you? Here’s everything you need to know.

Why Give Up the Convenience?

For thirty years, I never lived in a home without a microwave.

Like just about every kid who grew up in the 80’s, I have fond memories of Hot Pockets, TV dinners, Toaster Strudels, and personal pizzas coming out of that magic (if constantly dirty) black box after a minute and thirty seconds or so. Even the two fires I started in the microwave (one when I forgot to add water to my Top Ramen, the other when my sister and I tried to reheat a bagel the first time we stayed home alone, and had to evacuate to the neighbor’s house) make for good stories.

I’m not on an anti-microwave crusade. If it’s unhealthy, that remains to be seen — emissions may or may not be any worse than what our cell phones and laptops throw off, and even the “common knowledge” that microwaves destroy more enzymes and nutrients than other cooking methods has been largely refuted.

So why get rid of it?

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S’nuts! A Healthy, Smoky, Vegan Snack from Asheville’s Plant Restaurant

When it comes to healthy, plant-based food options, we’ve come a long way in the past few years.

But one area that’s apparently still lacking bigtime: snacks.

I sent out a survey to the NMA newsletter list a few weeks ago — mainly to get some feedback about what features you’re looking for in the upcoming community site — and in doing so I asked about your frustrations with fitness and diet (which, it turned out, was also a pretty good way to generate blog post ideas).

One of the most common problems, at least when it comes to food? Not enough vegan snacks!

The No Meat Athlete post about 24 healthy vegan and vegetarian snacks is a perennial favorite, but today I’m excited to share one of the snacks I almost always have on hand — an amuse bouche I discovered at a local Asheville restaurant that’s simple, healthy, and incredibly tasty.

Speaking of Asheville, though, I owe you an update …

Why We Love Asheville

Two years ago, my wife and I decided to pick up and move our family away from a comfortable home amongst family and friends in Maryland. We wanted adventure, and to try a place more befitting of our lifestyle, and we found it in Asheville — a small city in the mountains of western North Carolina that’s known for its arts, craft beer, vegan-friendliness, family- and pet-friendliness, running and hiking trails, and (for lack of a better term) laid-back hippie vibe.

I get a surprising number of emails from readers considering a move themselves who ask about our impression of Asheville now that we’ve been here close to two years. In short: we love it.

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Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with Broccoli, from Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Get ready to party like it’s 2009.

One of my main reasons for starting this blog, back in that ancient day, was to share plant-based recipes that I found fit for athletes. And for several years I did just that, but soon I started to enjoy writing other types of posts. Recipes, I figured, were best left to cooking blogs (like my current favorite, Oh She Glows).

But I miss those days of kitchen experimentation, so starting with this post, I plan to share new recipes now and then, whenever I find one that’s especially delicious, healthy, and easy to make.

First, an announcement …

… and it’s a big one. Susan, Doug, and I — along with Wendy, the newest member of the NMA team — have been working hard on building something special for the past few months.

That something special is a No Meat Athlete community site. With not just forums and other ways for members to connect (both online and in person, if they wish), but also a place where we’ll feature interviews and stories of No Meat Athletes kicking ass in the world — sometimes pros and elites, but often regular, everyday people from our amazing community. And all with the friendly, welcoming vibe that’s too often lacking in other approaches to sharing this message.

The new site isn’t quite ready yet — right now we’re incorporating feedback from over 1,400 people who gave us their input — but should be within the next two weeks, and you can be sure I’ll let you know.

(And by the way, we’re trying to come up with a name for the community blog — if you’ve got an idea, submit it in the comments section of this post. If we choose yours, you’ll win a No Meat Athlete shirt and book!)

Ok, enough with the teaser. Recipe time!

Isa Does It

isadoesit 242x300If pressed to name just one, go-to cookbook that my wife and I use at home (when not in Eat to Live mode — see the postscript below), it would be Appetite for Reduction, written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, with nutritional input from No Meat Athlete co-author Matt Ruscigno.

Appetite for Reduction is Isa’s healthy, low-fat cookbook, though quite honestly, that only just occurred to me — I figured the name was just a meaningless Guns ‘n’ Roses reference. And if you think about it, there’s no higher praise for a low-fat cookbook than not realizing it’s low-fat!

So when Isa asked if I wanted to check out her latest, Isa Does It, of course I said yes. It didn’t hurt that I scored major points at home when the book showed up on our doorstep while I was away on my book tour — and my wife, Erin, has been cooking her way through the book ever since.

Isa Does It, while of course vegan, isn’t specifically about healthy cooking, the way Appetite for Reduction so clearly is (at least for those who get puns). And when just a few minutes ago I asked my wife what she thought was premise of Isa Does It, I realized that yet more wordplay had gone over my head.

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How to Go Plant-Based (When Your Partner Won’t)

iStock 000006045828 ExtraSmallOne of the most common questions I get in Q&A sessions following talks:

What if you want to go vegan or vegetarian, but your partner is not on board? 

And I never have a good answer. I was very fortunate that from the minute I came home and said, “Honey, I want to try being vegetarian,” she said, “Let’s do it!”

Same with going vegan a few years later. So while I can give suggestions (don’t be preachy, lead by example, and look for recipes that can swing both ways), they’re based only on others’ experiences.

My friend Jeff Sanders has such firsthand experience; he’s a nearly-raw vegan and his wife is an omnivore. I asked Jeff if he’d help me answer this common question, and this post is the result.

Jeff, by the way, is the host of a fantastic podcast called the 5AM Miracle — one that I’ve started listening to as I’ve become more intentional about my mornings (even if I’m still sawing logs in my bed at that ungodly hour). I was even a guest on the podcast a few months ago; so have been other vegan runners Rich Roll and PJ Murphy.

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